A BUDDING young Rugby military man has made it to the final round of a national competition to win a two-week expedition to South Africa.
Matthew Hewish, 17, of Rugby Sea Cadets, was nominated by his unit in recognition of his desire to help those around him, overcome personal challenges and help the community.
He will compete with 24 others to be chosen as one of nine national finalists in the CVQO Duke of Westminster Award at a challenging four-day selection event in Somerset.
The chosen finalists will win a place on an educational two-week expedition to South Africa in July – and one will be crowned the overall winner for 2015 at the House of Lords ceremony on June 30.
On the agenda for the four-day event in the heart of the Quantock Hills are physical team-building tasks, challenging group debates, strategy tests and interviews – all designed to test the cadets’ leadership and management skills.
They will also complete an Institute of Leadership and Management qualification, allowing them to demonstrate their skills to employers and higher education institutions.
Matthew said “I arrived for a normal unit night at cadets and found out I’d been selected, which was obviously a terrific surprise. The key to succeeding over the next few days will be to prove my leadership ability and above all listening skills.
“South Africa is the ultimate prize and it would be great to go there to support the local communities.”
Guy Horridge, chief executive of education charity CVQO, said: “The award is not just about being a great cadet; it is about recognising and rewarding young people who become valuable members of their communities and who show a willingness selflessly to help others.
“This year’s standard has been extremely high and it will be particularly difficult to select those worthy of a place in the final nine, let alone the overall winner.”
The nine who visit South Africa will work with local schools, take part in an environmental awareness programme and learn about the country’s history.